Album Review | Danny Brown – XXX

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This album was released on August 15th in 2011. It’s pretty much Danny Brown’s breakout project. I mean, from what I understand he already had a pretty good buzz, but this one really put him on another level. If The Hybrid was like Danny Brown’s Culdesac, then XXX was his Camp. It’s one of those popular projects that people always mention in conversations alongside tapes like Acid Rap & The Water[s]. In fact, I honestly thought this project was a mixtape until like 5 minutes ago. I guess it’s because it was originally released as a free download on DatPiff. It was listed as the third best mixtape of the millennium by Pitchfork too. I guess it doesn’t really matter. These days mixtapes and albums are basically the same thing. I thought The Hybrid was great, so if this project is really that much better then I’m expecting it to be dope af.

Track 1: XXX (Prod. Frank Dukes)

Alright, I can already tell that this is about to be a much more polished and cohesive project than The Hybrid. This beat is dope af. Danny Brown’s goin’ in with his signature delivery. Man. Frank Dukes killed this shit. I love this beat. Danny Brown sounds great over it too. The whole song is just one great verse. “The way a nigga going might go out like Sam Cooke / Or locked up calling home for money on my books / ‘Cause if this shit don’t work, nigga, I failed at life / Turning to these drugs, now these drugs turned my life / And it’s the downward spiral; got me suicidal / But too scared to do it, so these pills will be the rifle / Surpassing all my idols / Took the wrong turn / But can’t go back now so now let that blunt burn.” Everything about this song is great to me. I love the production, and the verse is dope af. I love the way Danny Brown writes about addiction and living in the hood. He’s really good at describing fucked up shit. “Dark nights tryna sleep; stomach on fire / Delusional from hunger, so I couldn’t get tired / Imagining the equalizer goin’ from green to red / Words that rhyme together just appear all in my head.” I definitely fuck with this shit. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Die Like A Rockstar (Prod. skywlkr)

Oh fuuuuck. Gotdamn. This beat is fucking crazy. It’s really dark, and almost experimental sounding. This is so fucking dope. This dark ass beat combined with Danny’s eccentric beat makes this one of the weirdest songs I’ve heard in a long time. In a cool way tho. I love this shit. “Manuscript sick shit, prescription addiction / Sniffing adderall off the counter in my kitchen / Tripping off the shit that had Brian Wilson flipping / Experiment so much it’s a miracle I’m living.” Fuck yes. So far this project is exactly what I’m hoping it would be. I love the way he’s rapping about addiction. You would think more rappers would try to rap about shit like this. I guess a lot of rappers try to, but none of them ever do it this well. ScHoolboy Q did it well on Prescription, but aside from that I can’t think of any other good examples. That song Addiction by Kanye was cool, but it was very surface level. You can really tell that Danny Brown is an addict himself. All throughout this song he compares himself to celebrities who have passed away from drug overdoses. “I’ma die like a rockstar.” Jesus Christ. This beat is fucking incredible. I love this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 3: Pac Blood (Prod. brandUn DeShay)

Hmm… This sound effect in the beat sounds familiar… Yeah… I’m pretty sure that exact same sample was used in Extradite by Freddie Gibbs. I really don’t have a good way to describe it. If you listen to both of these songs you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s not really a bad thing. It’s just something I noticed. It plays a much bigger role in this song than it does in Extradite tho. It was just a sound effect in the background of that song, but here it’s part of the primary loop. I think the way it was incorporated into this song was a lot more creative. I still love the Extradite beat tho. The first verse was dope. He’s using his normal, more toned down delivery. “Every time I indent you can see the intent / Leave your mind bent, hanging on the every sentence / Have no apprentice; style uninherited / Laughing at you peasants ’cause my penmanship is excellence.” The hook is dope af too. “Rhymes that make the Pope wanna get his dick sucked / Had Virgin Mary doing lines in the pick-up / Make Sarah Palin deepthroat ’til she hiccup / Had T.D. Jakes ’round this bitch doing stick-ups.” He fucking killed this shit. “Langston Hughes with a blew fuse and a screw loose / Maya Angelou abused child with her notebook / Spitting like Kipling with a tooth missing / Tongue bring torture to men, women and children.” I definitely fuck with this one. He fucking spazzed on this shit. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 4: Radio Song (Prod. brandUn DeShay)

This beat is really dope. I love how weird and experimental the production is. It’s literally just a snare pattern. There’s some light bass in the background too. It evolves a bit more during the hook. The first verse was nice. He’s goin’ in about how you need to make commercialized, Poppy, soft shit to make it onto the radio. The hook is kinda annoying, but it’s cool lyrically. “They say you need a hit, a chart toppin’ single / That’s why it’s called commercial because you need a jingle / A smash crowd banger; play it all night long / You never get on without a radio song / So this my radio song.” This song would never be played on the radio. It’s really good tho. The second verse was dope af. It could be stretched as a diss to a lot of mainstream rappers. He referenced a ton of wack hit songs from artists like T.I. & Wiz Khalifa. “There’s no originality; carbon copy singles / He made ‘Black & Yellow?‘ I’ma make ‘Black & Emo‘ / That’s why these wack rappers, they never last long / Don’t care about music, just radio songs.” I really enjoyed this song. It didn’t impress me as much as the other songs so far, but it’s still a good track. This is dope. 4/5

Track 5: Lie4 (Prod. skywlkr)

Yesssss. I love how weird the production on this album is. The Hybrid’s production was nowhere near as experimental as this. Same goes for Old if I’m remembering correctly. Good lord. This beat is fucking amazing. GOTDAMN. I feel like if you aren’t paying really close attention, you’d probably think Danny Brown is a hypocrite. This song could easily be mistaken as one of those Poppy, mainstream singles that he was criticizing in the previous song. He’s rapping about how much money he has and partying. If you really listen to him tho it’s clear that this is supposed to be a commentary on people who are monetarily irresponsible. “SHUH-POW bitch, wow / Been had hundreds / Nah, nigga I’m lying / You know that I be fronting.” His flow was kinda underwhelming, but I fuck with the first verse lyrically. “That income tax swag / That bad dame in my lap / Just copped her a bag.” The hook is dope. The second verse is even better than the first lyrically. I’m still not really impressed with his flow. I’d love to hear someone like Denzel Curry spit over this beat. He would’ve sounded great over this. An underwhelming flow isn’t enough for me to penalize this song tho because everything else about it is great. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 6: I Will (Prod. Squadda Bambino)

Hahahaha. Wow. This beat sounds like they sampled one of them soft ass, airy, Drake-inspired R&B songs and transformed it into an experimental Hip Hop beat. It’s dope. The hook is fine. Uh oh… “Take it off, baby, bend over, let me see it / You looking for a real pussy eater? I can be it / Quit playing with me, girl, and bring that over here / And climb aboard my face; put that pussy on my beard.” Yikes… Nah… Nah, I’m not feelin’ this shit. Anyone who knows me should’ve known that I wouldn’t be feelin’ this one. It’s a song about eating pussy. I don’t like super vulgar sex songs like this. It’s not really something that I enjoy hearing about… I’m not really a prudish person. I’m not offended by this like Nancy Grace would be. I just don’t see the appeal in this kinda shit. “If it’s smelling sweet I’ll lick it for a hour / And even if it’s sour I might lick it in the shower / I go dumb and ignorant when I’m on that clitoris / Lick your ass delirious; my tongue game so damn serious.” Why the fuck would I wanna hear somebody rap about that shit? I have no problems with oral sex. I just… I’m not entertained by this kinda music. I obviously wasn’t feelin’ the first verse lyrically, but I wasn’t even feelin’ his flow either. The second verse was even worse. “Oh, that nigga scared? Let me show you what it’s ’bout / Spread apart the lips, put that clit up in my mouth / And that thang so juicy, I’ma call it jamba / Licking it in circles got me calling me your papa.” Do people really just drive down the street listening to shit like this? I don’t get it. I’m sorry, y’all. I just can’t. I can’t do this one. The only thing I liked about this track was the beat, and even that wasn’t super impressive to me. That last line where he brings it full circle and connects his addiction to this track was pretty cool tho. “I’m swagged up; I’m off a pill / Could fuck you for an hour ’cause I can’t feel.” This shit is still wack to me tho. 2/5

Track 7: Bruiser Brigade Feat. Dopehead (Prod. skywlkr)

Oh my fuck. This beat is crazy. It’s so fucking weird. I’m not feelin’ this hook tho. Ehhhh. I’m not fuckin’ with this first verse either. He’s rapping about drinking a lot… It’s just not really very interesting. The beat is great, but the first verse… The rhymes, lyrics, and flow were all just so basic. “Yo bitch, she wanna fuck me / Yo bitch, she wanna suck me / What the fuck you think she ‘posed to do? / But if she fuck me she gotta fuck the crew.” This reminds me of the songs on Odd Future’s projects with Jasper & Taco. The only difference is that this isn’t funny. So far everything about this song is bad to me except the beat. The second verse from Danny was alright I guess. I liked the harder, more gangsta direction that he went in, but it still just wasn’t that entertaining to me. Dopehead’s goin’ in now. He really sounds just like Danny Brown with a slightly different voice. That line about Swizz Beatz’s hairline was slightly humorous, but aside from that his verse did nothing for me. Nah. I’m not feelin’ this one. It’s wack. 2/5

Track 8: Detroit 187 Feat. Chip$ (Prod. Nick Speed)

This beat isn’t bad. Okay, I didn’t think this would happen, but Danny’s delivery is starting to get slightly annoying. It’s not really that bad for me tho. The first verse was cool. The second verse was better. There’s no hook. This is easily the least interesting song on the whole album so far. I mean, I definitely like it more than the previous two tracks, but there’s just not really much to say. There doesn’t really seem to be a specific theme or concept behind this song, and the structure is very simplistic. This Chip$ guy is on the final verse. Meh. He did his thing I guess. I don’t think his verse was bad, but nothing about it really stood out at all. It was alright tho. The same can be said for this track. It’s just decent to me. I wouldn’t ever have the desire to listen to this song again, but I don’t really think it’s that bad. It’s tolerable. 3/5

Track 9: Monopoly (Prod. Quelle)

Oh shitfuck. This beat is dope af. Yes. Danny’s rapping his motherfucking ass off right now. “My nigga, you ain’t been what I been through / And if so, you would take a pencil through your temple / ‘Cause I done served fiends on they menstrual / Ain’t even have pads; stuffed they panties with tissue.” I think this track would’ve fit in pretty well on The Hybrid. Oh I guess that might be because Quelle produced this track; he handled a lot of the production on The Hybrid. Fuck. Danny just dropped another F bomb. Aside from that, the first verse was dope af. There’s no hook. There’s just a short break between the two verses. He killed both of ’em. I really liked his flow on the second verse too. It was kinda disturbing how aggressive his delivery suddenly got when he yelled “FUCK HER FACE” towards the end of the track. I really like this one tho. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 10: Blunt After Blunt (Prod. skywlkr)

blunt-after-blunt

This beat is cool. I love Danny’s delivery on this track. It’s really… Hmm. I guess “aggressive” is the word I should use. The first verse was dope af. Damn. I love how hard this shit is. I don’t know why, but the hook is kinda hard for me to take seriously… “I smoke blunt after blunt after blunt after blunt after blunt after blunt.” It’s not bad tho. The second verse was cool. Man… I don’t know. I definitely like the song. I just wish the hook was a little better. I just can’t take it seriously for whatever reason. The two verses were cool. I could’ve done without some of the more vulgar lyrics (Kush got a nigga feeling awesome / Ate that bitch pussy ’til she squirted like a dolphin / Told her bend over; hit that shit doggy / Called her a cab then I told that bitch to call me), but it wasn’t too bad. I liked the dark beat, and Danny’s aggressive delivery was really cool too. This is dope. 4/5

Track 11: Outer Space (Prod. skywlkr)

My source tells me that the streets do NOT fuck with this album. I’m certainly enjoying it tho. This beat is dope af. Danny’s goin’ the fuck in. The first verse was cool. The second verse is vulgar, but it’s just so over the top that I can’t help but laugh at it. “I’m a motherfucking motherfucker / Fucking on your mother with two rubbers; I do fuck her / No cover just her booty on a pillow / Your bitch said my dick tastes like tropical fruit Skittles.” There’s not really a hook. The verses are just separated by what sounds like a movie quote. The third verse was cool. He rapped a lot about sex on this track, but I didn’t really mind it that much for some reason. He sounded really good over this beat. I’m not blown away, but I definitely enjoyed this track. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 12: Adderall Admiral (Prod. Paul White)

This beat is weird as fuck. It’s great. The flow and rhyme scheme he was using for the intro were really dope. “Fucked her in her mouth; she washed it down with Tabasco.” I’m pretty sure that’s the 4th or 5th time he’s mentioned face fucking someone. The structure of this track is so weird. It’s just one verse split into four short sections. That “intro” that I mentioned was just the first section of the verse. The beat is weird as hell too. I definitely like the song. It’s just so weird that I’m struggling to describe how I feel about it. The beat almost sounds like a less abrasive clipping. instrumental. Lyrically, this song is pretty similar to most of the other tracks. He’s rapping a lot about having sex. It’s not as vulgar as a track like I Will tho. I fuck with this one. It’s not amazing, but I enjoyed it. This is dope. 4/5

Track 13: DNA (Prod. Frank Dukes)

Oh shit? …This is… Wow. He’s not using his signature, over the top delivery anymore. It’s the same delivery that he used on Drinks On Me. He’s rapping about his addiction again. “It’s in my DNA ’cause my pops like to get fucked up the same way / It’s in my DNA ’cause my moms like to get fucked up the same way.

That's sad…

I’m glad he’s finally diving deeper into the negative side of drug use. The first verse was really dope. I definitely prefer this side of Danny Brown. The party music gets pretty old to me after a while and I don’t even like parties, so it’s nice to actually get some substance. If you’ve listened to Old, this is the kinda song that’d be on Side A. Most of the other shit on this album would probably end up on Side B. The second verse was great. This is easily one of my favorite songs on the album so far. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 14: Nosebleeds (Prod. DJ House Shoes)

This beat is dope af. Danny’s rapping about a drug addict. Man. I wish the whole album was this serious. “Cocaine on counter tops, separate in lines / Every time she do it she says this her last time / Chasing that high from the very first time / Back in her dorm room in 2009.” Gotdamn. This track is dark as fuck. There’s only one verse. The whole song is just over a minute and a half long. It’s awesome tho. There’s no happy ending to this track. He’s literally just painting the picture of a cokehead snorting lines until her nose starts bleeding. Pretty fucked up stuff. I love shit like this tho. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 15: Party All The Time (Prod. brandUn DeShay)

This beat is dope af. Lyrically, this song kinda sounds like a successor to Drinks On Me. The first verse was great. The hook is very simple, but I really like it. I love how mellow this production is. The second verse was fantastic. Danny Brown is a really poetic lyricist when he’s not rapping about having sex and the benefits of drug use. “Wanting her to change, but she won’t, dog / Just another number in a fucking call log / Lost in the fog, head in the smoke / Laughing at the world ’cause her life is a joke.” This is another great song. I love this track. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 16: EWNESW (Prod. Quelle)

This beat is dope. The autobiographical content of this track is cool, but I’m not sure how I feel about the hook. It’s not bad enough to completely ruin the track, but I could’ve done without it. The first verse was nice. He’s rapping about where he grew up. The second verse was dope af. “I’m living in the city where the weak get swallowed / Belly of the beast; we don’t care about tomorrow.” This is a good song. Nothing about this track really stands out and pushes it to the next level for me, but I still enjoyed it. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 17: Fields (Prod. Paul White)

This beat is really dope. Now he’s rapping more about how his hometown affected him personally. He tells a story about how he got jumped when he was on the way to get bread from the store for his mom in the first verse. The hook is fine. It’s really simplistic, but it works. The second verse was absolutely fantastic. “I’m doing drugs thought I’d never ever try / That had my eyes so dry; dog, I WISH I could cry.” He really put his ass into this one. “Lost in the streets niggas playing that gun game / Where nobody wins; just a bunch of mamas losing / Dead body in the field, nobody heard the shooting / We living in the streets where the options is limited / ‘Cause its burnt buildings instead of jobs and businesses.” This is another fantastic song. Holy FUCK this album is longer than a motherfucker. This song in particular is dope af tho. 5/5

Track 18: Scrap Or Die (Prod. Paul White)

Alright, just two more tracks. Oh fuck. FUCK. OH MY FUCK. WHAT. This beat is fucking incredible. Good lord. It’s so fucking weird. Yes. This track is gangsta as hell too. Danny’s tellin’ the story of how he robbed the fuck outta some abandoned house with his family. “Now we at the place, skullies on, bare face / ‘Bout to leave this bitch bare and strip the whole damn place / My unc’ took outside; he ripping down the gutters / So we inside tearing up this motherfucker.” You can tell they were in a really desperate situation because they’re literally taking every single thing that was in the house, including “the hot water tank and leftover appliances.” The hook is cool. I guess he’s gonna try to sell that shit to a junkyard. Damn. He was about to tear up a closed school, but a police officer caught him doing it. The song just ended. I’m gonna be honest; I didn’t even know “scrapping” was a thing. I didn’t know people did this shit. You learn something new every day I guess. It was definitely interesting to hear about. I really enjoyed this track. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 19: 30 (Prod. skywlkr)

What the hell? These horns sound so weak. Not in a bad way tho. It sounds intentional. I could see it being a turnoff for some people. It doesn’t really bother me personally; it’s just kinda weird. I feel like I’ve called almost every beat on this album weird tho. Gotdamn. Danny Brown is rapping his motherfucking ass off right now. He’s actually switching between his regular voice and his loud, obnoxious delivery mid verse. He’s even switching his flow up a lot too. This song has the same structure as the first track. It’s just one long verse. He fucking killed it tho. “The last ten years I been so fucking stressed / Tears in my eyes, let me get this off my chest / The thought of no success got a nigga chasing death / Doing all these drugs in hopes of OD’ing next: XXX.” This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. This is dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

Holy fuck that was one long ass album. It was great tho. I like this one a little more than The Hybrid. I absolutely loved the weird, experimental production, and I of course enjoyed the commentary on addiction. Again, I don’t know why more rappers don’t try to rap about shit like that. It’s not a perfect album tho. My main problem with this is that it was too long. He could’ve cut some of these tracks. Maybe some of the tracks before DNA. The first 12 tracks all have kind of a similar mood. I just kinda feel like he overdid it with all the party tracks. In my opinion there should’ve been way more shit like tracks 13 through 19. I just felt like the subject matter started getting slightly repetitive until I got to DNA. Once I got to DNA it almost felt like I was listening to a whole other project. The more energetic, less introspective stuff was fantastic at first. I feel like it kinda plateaued towards the middle tho. However, aside from that I think this album is fucking dope. That’s really the only criticism I have. I just wanted more shit like DNA & Party All The Time instead of stuff like Bruiser Brigade & I Will. So yeah. This album is great. I’m really glad I finally got around to listening to it. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: DNA

Least Favorite: I Will

Verdict:

86%

80-89

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One comment

  1. It’s a great project, I like both spectrums this record touches on there’s some playfulness whilst there’s exploration of his own personal demons.

    You gotta understand, tracks like “I Will” aren’t made to listen while in the ride or studying or sitting around doing random stuff, it’s background music for when you’re at the stripclub throwing $100 bills at your favorite dancer(s), know what I mean?

    Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

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